Pain Management Programme Day 2
My second day has been and gone at the Pain Management Programme.
You can catch upon my PMP Days here:- Pain Management Programme
I found today very hard.
The first half of the day was ‘class time’ listening to one person talking. It is a total change of scenery, out of one’s comfort zone, exercising one’s brain listening to someone talk for quite some time on a subject matter that involves a fair bit of concentration. By the time the morning was over my brain felt like it might quite like to explode.
We covered ‘about pain’, how it feels to us, both physically and psychologically.
We covered the fact that there is no pain that is either physical or psychological on it’s own, pain is always both.
We then covered the ‘cycle’ of pain. How the stimulus works from the external senses, to the dorsal horn which acts like a sifting section, sorting what goes where, to that then being transported to the brain, the brain then deciding what is a threat, what is urgent, what is not, to then whizzing back down to the, for example, ankle if twisted and providing pain and a physical protective reaction.
Then we discussed how with acute pain there is a period of time where the pain is there, the healing happens, the pain dissipates as the brain then sends messages that all is well and it goes back to it’s resting point.
However with chronic pain which is pain that has usually been going on over six months, the brain is on constant threat and as such starts to re-jig things about, making it always on high alert, making the nerves super sensitive so they can do their job super well. Relaying messages back promptly and quick action again and so the cycle goes on.
Though the brain and nervous system is trying to be helpful and protect, this reaction is actually not helpful at all as it causes constant pain reactions.
Then we covered the psychological effects also of historical trauma, how that makes us feel, being in ‘that’ situation again etc.
It was all great and I got it predominantly, hard going but very interesting.
We then had lunch. Now usually for me I have my allotted sitting time during the day. Sitting is my main issue which is my pain flare up factor. I wanted to be social, so I sit for a period of time with the others. It already begins to set off the pain flares, but I figure after lunch I can lie down on my mat. So I just put up with it.
After lunch we go in and are told that we are having our physical assessments. By this stage I am feeling fairly bloated, not from over eating, but IBS flare ups and pain heightened on top. The assessments involve sitting down and getting up from a chair repeatedly over a period of time whilst they time and count how many times we can do this. You can imagine my reaction to this. But I thought, ok get this over and done with, all done and dusted. Pain levels creeping up, yup I can now go and lie down on my mat as my sitting time is definitely done.
Then we are told after this is introduction to exercise time. I was not too worried about this until I am told that this involves sitting on a chair for at least 20 minutes. I am feeling somewhat anxious and stressed by this stage. I am asked infront of the class whether I can manage this. I don’t know do I? Not really, but I know I don’t really ‘want’ to try as I am already in pain, but I say “yes I will give it a go”.
It is hard in a group situation, especially so early on to say ‘no’ and I feel that I should try to do this ‘de-sensitizing’ of my pain flare up actions and see if I can start somehow to get used to it.
So I find a high up stool. Every exercise has to be held for around 3 breaths in and out. Some of the exercises involve a lot of torso work, ie bending over and virtually touching toes and chest pressed against knees.
I simply CANNOT do this.
But before we get to this ‘actual’ exercise which was the worst one, I am trying my best, listening to the teacher, saying concentrate on your breath, your sensations, what is going through your head, what you are thinking.
I am thinking this isn’t a good idea to concentrate on what I am thinking. I am thinking “I cannot do this, I hate this, I am frightened, my chest is going to go in to a spasm”, then my stomach starts to feel like it is on fire, my chest starts to tighten up, I am getting hot and sweating and feel like their is no oxygen in the air, I cannot get my breath properly. I am panicking, I want to go and run out of the room, I want to hide in the loo and just cry because I feel pathetic that I cannot do this, yet there are people with walking sticks who are managing better than me. But none of them have sitting issues, I try to justify it to myself.
I find opening my eyes makes it more sane for me, but still I can only do a 1/4 of the exercises but very sadly. I then find out we are to do this every day at the clinic.
The teacher asked the group how they felt they got on. Everyone said “good” but I didn’t answer, I wanted to shout “I hate it and don’t want to do it again”. But I stayed quiet.
After this we had ‘relaxation’ time which involved lying down “yay” but deep muscle relaxation which involved tensing and relaxing muscles, and though normally I wouldn’t really find this an issue, after a whole afternoon of having taxing physical exercises it suddenly became an overwhelming experience. I found myself very teary, I was trying to hide it, a steady pathetic slow trickle of tears fell down my face in the semi-dark as I hoped the teacher would not notice.
I got up feeling crestfallen as how I would deal with this ‘thing’ that I would now make me dread going to the clinic instead of looking forward to it which I had been. I know somehow I will get over it, but just typing as I feel right now.
In my perfect world, I think it would have been good to have been pre-warned as to what was going to happen exactly and also to have had the physical stuff spread out with the learning inbetween, for me it was too much.
I then got ready to leave, my son had sent me text messages asking to have friends over. I felt like a bad mum because I didn’t want to come home with a bunch of teenage boys in the house, I had told my son that during this period things were to be quiet and I was angry at him having asked, then felt guilty for being a bad mum. I said no, but dad had already said yes. I got picked up and within a short period of time the flood gates opened, all the stress I had been holding in from the afternoon gushed out, but it felt good to cry to say how ‘shit’ I felt.
When I got home I went to bed, feeling like I had emotionally been through two rounds with Mike Tyson. My son realized that it might have been best for mummy to of arrived to an empty home except for him when he saw red rimmed eyes, I got a nice long cuddle and all is right with the world until tomorrow.
I think I need to talk to them, to say how I felt when I tried the exercise, how it is making me feel the prospect of doing this daily in this way and see if ‘they’ the experts can help with what I can only assume was the beginnings of a panic attack.
That is all for today, Justine xx
© Justine Nagaur